Public health braces for third wave of fluIn the months of November and December, Douglas County Public Health gave out 3,650 H1N1 vaccines to students in the Douglas County area.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
In the months of November and December, Douglas County Public Health gave out 3,650 H1N1 vaccines to students in the Douglas County area.
Back in October, a limited number of H1N1 vaccines started to arrive in Douglas County. And now, just a couple months later, there are plenty of vaccines available for the general public to receive an H1N1 shot, according to Doreen Hanson from Douglas County Public Health.
“The more people who are vaccinated, the better,” said Hanson.
Public health officials are anticipating a third wave of the H1N1 flu to hit this area, but are not sure when it could happen. The first wave hit early last year, in April, with the second wave hitting in late September, early October, said Hanson.
She noted that the seasonal flu – a different strain of the influenza virus than the H1N1 – typically peaks sometimes in February.
Besides the H1N1 flu vaccine, the public can also still get the regular flu vaccine.
Hanson said it’s never too late to get vaccinated – for both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu.
“There should be enough vaccine, but if not, we can get more,” said Hanson.
Last week, Douglas County commissioners received an update from Douglas County Public Health about the “H1N1 Vaccination Campaign.”
Here is a recap of the information that was presented:
•Last August, Douglas County Public Health held meetings with community partners to begin plans to vaccinate the residents of Douglas County. Plans were made for public health to vaccinate students at school as well as public health employees and emergency personnel.
•In September of last year, planning continued locally and weekly telephone conferences were held between Douglas County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health.
Seasonal flu vaccine clinics began and forms were sent to schools for students who wanted to receive the H1N1 vaccine.
•A limited number of vaccines started to arrive in Douglas County in October, and healthcare workers and emergency personnel were offered the flu mist vaccine.
•November was a busy month for public health as permission forms were returned and school vaccination clinics began. The first round of vaccines was given to children ages 9 and younger. This group of students eventually received two doses. Public health was assisted at the vaccination clinics by student nurse volunteers.
•School vaccinations continued in December with round two going to students aged 10 and older and those aged 9 and younger who missed the first dose. Round three included the students aged 9 and younger who already received their first dose.
The priority groups were opened to anyone who was not yet vaccinated, and clinics were held for county and school employees, as well as emergency personnel and first responders.
•This month, clinics were first held for more county and school employees and then they were opened to the public.
In addition this month, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and businesses were offered H1N1 vaccination clinics, and school vaccinations will be completed.
Douglas County Public Health will continue to hold clinics. To find out when the clinics will be held, contact Douglas County Public Health at (320) 763-6018.
FACTS ABOUT THE FLU SHOT
Total number of vaccinations given to students: 3,650 – 1,231 in November and 2,419 in December.
Largest clinics held: Discovery Middle School – 387; Jefferson High School – 341; and Douglas County Public Health – 310.
Non-school vaccinations: more than 679.
Total number of nurse volunteers: 31. This included student nurses, parish health nurses and retired nurses.
Total number of public health employees participating in planning or implementing clinics: 38.
Clinics sites included gyms, libraries, art rooms, preschool rooms, lunch rooms, offices, meeting rooms and stages.